The founder of a multimillion-dollar whitegoods empire, who was jailed for fraud and insolvent trading, is now fighting to have his name cleared.
The founder of a multimillion-dollar whitegoods empire, who was jailed for fraud and insolvent trading, is now fighting to have his name cleared.

Jailed Kleenmaid boss fights to clear name

The founder of a multimillion-dollar whitegoods empire is fighting to have his name cleared after he was jailed for fraud and insolvent trading.

Andrew Young, the former director of whitegoods distributor Kleenmaid, was supported by a packed gallery of family and friends at the Queensland Court of Appeal this morning where he is challenging his conviction.

Young is serving a nine-year jail sentence at Woodford Correctional Centre after being found guilty of fraud and insolvent trading, 11 years after the company's collapse in 2009 which left 6000 customers $26 million out-of-pocket.

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The Sunshine Coast father has been behind bars for seven months after a jury found he had defrauded the Westpac bank of $13 million and had accumulated debts of more than $750,000 by trading while insolvent.

 

Barrister Saul Holt QC. Picture: Jono Searle
Barrister Saul Holt QC. Picture: Jono Searle

 

Young, who has always maintained his innocence, is arguing that there was simply not enough evidence to convict him on any of the verdicts.

The court was told that Young had a long-list of appeal grounds including that the Crown's key witness Gary Armstrong, another former director who was jailed in 2015, had given evidence that was "entirely contrary to the core of the Crown case".

Barrister Saul Holt QC told the court there was no evidence that Young was aware that an application for a Westpac loan had given an "incomplete picture" of the Kleenmaid group.

"The positive evidence from Gary Armstrong was that that was never discussed with Andrew Young," Mr Holt said.

Mr Holt said there were issues with some of the directions given to the jury and it was "plainly wrong" that the judge had found Young fit for trial.

Young represented himself during the lengthy trial and argued he was unfit for trial because of issues with his health and memory.

 

Commonwealth prosecutor Lincoln Crowley QC. Picture: Jack Tran
Commonwealth prosecutor Lincoln Crowley QC. Picture: Jack Tran

 

Mr Holt argued that once there was a question of unfitness, the decision of Young's capability to carry on with the trial should have been decided by the jury, not by Brisbane District Court Judge Brian Deveraux SC.

Commonwealth prosecutor Lincoln Crowley QC, who prosecuted Young during the lengthy trial, was yet to respond to the grounds for appeal this morning.

But at a bail application for Young in April, Mr Crowley said there had been ample compensations made by the court for Young's health issues.

The appeal hearing continues.

Young has also asked the court for leave to appeal his sentence.

Originally published as Jailed Kleenmaid boss fights to clear name